Sunday, July 01, 2007

Merit marks



We used to have merit marks at my middle school. I think you got a badge if you came out top of the merit mark table at the end of the month. I say "I think" because I never actually confirmed that for a fact, never having actually explored the upper reaches of the table.

I do, however, clearly remember that you had to get something in the vicinity of 30 merit marks to be competing for top spot. It seemed an awesome figure. It was the same highly trained merit marked athletes who fought for the title every month. They must have got hundreds over the years. I think my total haul in all competitions was 18 or something. I was kind of like a merit mark defender, not a striker.

It wasn`t that I was a bad boy. I remember actually physically straining to get merit marked, but the teacher would just sail by. I was good but I was not worthy of merit.

Anyway, the point of this is that we have instituted a merit mark system for G.. He has been a bit of a geezer recently and under the new regime he gets a treat after every five good boy stickers. I have been thinking about it and it is really just a way of structuring one`s own actions as a parent, making sure you space out the treats a bit more and stick with the message.

I have a feeling, though, that G. may take after his Dad in the merit badge stakes. After an evening under the new regime, he has one sticker on the fridge. It was awarded retrospectively for a piece of remembered good behaviour before the new system was introduced, just to get the merit flowing. He is inordinately proud of it and has asked on at least six occasions what it was awarded for.

2 comments:

Rockstar said...

After spending an afternoon with J. and B. I feel that B. and G. may well end up competing for that one elusive sticker while J. sails past them with more than one to his name!! It's the unquestionable look of absolute mischief that persuades me of this - I saw it in B. today and rememeber it in G. - it's called spirit I think!

doltrane said...

That's my boy, George!!
I have to admit that the only tables I figured in at school were of the 'black mark' variety. Admittedly the prevailing regime then was more sticks than carrots but, nevertheless, I acquired a certain notoriety for the number of 'Penal Duties'(similar to the army's 'jankers') & 'Detentions' I earned through this baleful system. It's a disposition that I've never quite shaken off - as a certain person close to me will attest! And, sorry to discourage you in the first flush of optimism, maybe this 'contraryness' is hereditary!!